Fifth Freedom Newspaper, a digital collection from WNYLRC member institution Buffalo State College, is now available on New York Heritage:
The Fifth Freedom was a periodic free newspaper of the Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier, Western New York's most prominent early gay rights organization. In being the official written mouthpiece of the region's first systematic gay rights organization, The Fifth Freedom expresses the earliest codified and widely distributed literature of the gay community within the region. With the publication of this digital collection, scholars now have universal access to this seminal civil rights-centric material. Covering the time period between 1970 and 1983, the literature of The Fifth Freedom necessarily comments on not only the self-expression of a largely "invisible" self-identified group in the years that followed the Stonewall riots and preceded the onset of the more well-known AIDS epidemic, but also upon the larger Western New York and American culture overall. The newspaper content as well as editorial direction both chronicle and critique a unique time in both American and world-wide history, as seen and expressed by an active, though underdocumented, population.
New York Heritage is a collaborative project among New York State’s nine Reference and Research Library Resources Councils (NY3Rs): Capital District Library Council; Central New York Library Resources Council; Long Island Library Resources Council; METRO-Metropolitan New York Library Council; Northern New York Library Network; Rochester Regional Library Council; South Central Regional Library Council; Southeastern New York Library Resources Council; and Western New York Library Resources Council.
The NY3Rs, funded by New York State, work with their member institutions (libraries, archives, museums and historical societies) to digitize original research materials and make those materials available for free on the Internet. The Councils are continually adding new collections to nyheritage.org and actively seek collections to expand the site.